Saturday, June 1, 2019

Why I love the 802

All of Vermont has one area code. I imagine Wyoming is like that, too. Oh, North and South Dakota, Montana, and Rhode Island keep company with Vermont and Wyoming. I never knew. Nor did I care. Now that I live in the 802, we Vermonters refer to our state thusly, I am rather proud of it. "It" being one area code for the whole state. There is a twitter hashtag for it, I believe. I only troll on twitter. Off and on. That shit just depresses me.

I love Vermont. "Way up by Canada," Ingrid declares every time I call her.  She seems to think I am in some foreign country. So much so, that she thought I was too far away to manage her affairs, as if geography has anything to do with paying bills on line.  My paternal grandmother was an eighth or ninth generation Vermonter. My father was born in Vermont. My grandfather, from Western Mass, had the typical Vermont sense of humor. "Have you lived here all your life?" someone once asked him. "Not yet." he dead panned. (Is that even a verb, Benjamin Dreyer?) I identify as a Vermonter. So I believe I belong here.

So what does this have to do with sewing machines? Absolutely nothing. I painted the fence all day, after digging up sod around fourteen pickets. The black flies were merciful and I am almost halfway done. Now I am enjoying a Lake Hopper Hard Cider of Citizen Cider fame and 6.2% ABV. I haven't eaten in six hours. So I'm a bit tipsy and talkative.

This morning I put on my painting pants and my Bernie 2016 tee shirt. OK. I slept in the shirt. (No, I am not a Bernie fan this time around. It is time for a female president) The Weather Channel predicted rain, high of 74. I don't think that the WC understands mountain weather. It was down right chilly when I set out to prep the fence for painting. I changed into a merino wool shirt, underneath a flannel shirt with a bright, red fleece on top. By 11 I had peeled off the fleece and flannel (damn, I am alliterative today, yes?) and changed into my Insect-o-shield tee. The sun was out and I was ready to PAINT.
This fence has 38 sections of fourteen pickets each. We built it last year. Pressure treated lumber needs a year to dry out. It was hot and dry enough last year that I could have painted it (actually we are using a solid stain) last fall. I didn't

Want to get back to sewing machines? OK. I finally set up the Nolting 20 CLX in March. I put a practice sandwich on the frame and discovered that I could still quilt. I finished two UFOS and I even quilted a full sized quilt for a complete stranger. Mom was not supportive. She thought it was a bad idea. I agree. I doubt I could quilt for a money. I think it would take the love out of it.

I met J. in the late summer of 2017 on one of my trips while Steven and I  were in transition between NY and the 802.  In February of 2018 she had occasion to visit UVM Medical Center. There she saw this steel sculpture entitled "The Fabric of Life."  She texted me the photo and I set out to find fabrics to make a quilt.
  It took me until this past February to find the perfect collection. Now, I dd not search that whole time. It's just that the fabrics all came together this year.

I found the backing fabric (on hanger, upper right corner of photo) in my stash. I'm pleased as punch.

Friday, February 8, 2019


The temperatures have been sub-zero in Vermont this winter. Our house in New York was one hundred years old. The windows were original, double hung, single pane with leaded glass on the top. I loved them. They were elegant and drafty.
I made roman shades for them with Warm Window insulating fabric. We left the shades behind when we moved. That was likely a mistake. I never saw that the new owners hung them back up after we moved out. Too bad. I could have used that fabric.

Window technology changed between 1920 and 1990.  True, the casement windows in our Vermont house are double pane but the seal is gone. The weatherstripping has failed as well. So I did here what I did in New York. I made roman shades for the windows.

I made three long narrow ones for the atrium door that leads to our deck.
I've got a clouds and bird theme going on. This fabric reminded me a bit of fall. So I decided the next curtain would be winter.  Today I almost finished it. Blue sky with cardinals on snowy tree branches

I can tell that I will have to press out the top seam. It pulls a bit. Must be that the bottom tension was a bit tight.

This curtain/shade is 74 inches wide by 70 inches high. Since it will draw up as a shade, I used the Super Nova Necchi zig zag setting to stitch 63 carbone rings onto the back side of the shade. It took all afternoon.

 I used the Necchi BU (as a treadle)  to put the curtain together.  It is strong and quiet. I think it is as strong as the Singer 15-90. It certainly is much quieter. That 15-90 clanks and clatters. Fun I have not when I sew with it. Can I pass it along? I don't know. I don't think so. I think that I will put some high shelves up and display my machines. That would make me happy. I could display the 15-90, 15-91, 201-1, 201-2,  one of the 301s, the 221, a Kenmore or two, the hand crank, the 319. Good idea.

The fabric slid under the presser foot of the BU as I was sewing this line of rings. In this picture it looks as if I am sewing with both machines.  Not so.

For some reason, Theo was desperate to get either behind me or underneath the machine this afternoon. I don't know why.  No, I don't think it was because I was mourning my sister and worried about my mother. Though maybe. He got over it pretty quickly when I offered him a cookie. More than likely he was upset by Steven stomping around upstairs.

Alice died April 7, 2018.  I was supposed to go out to help with her SCT right after I retired. The last few weeks of work I was channeling my inner urbanite so that, somehow, I could tolerate the city. I had it all planned out. We would spend the spring and summer together in the windy city as she recovered. Then, after the requisite 100 days, we would come here and I would continue to help her get well. We would laugh and play with the pups. We would ride our bikes on the rail trail, take walks in the woods, paddle on the reservoir, and, maybe, even hike in the mountains a bit. We would go see Mom.

Instead, I packed up all her stuff, sold her dwelling and brought her dog home. I won't ever get over it. Some days I feel as if she just died. The grief is sudden, deep, and awful. Then other days, like today, I could almost claim contentment.  The promise of spring, and sewing help. Steven helps. The grandbabies and their parents help. The dogs help. My friends help. Looking at the mountains helps.   It wasn't supposed to be this way. But now it is. 

Friday, January 12, 2018




Saturday, January 6, 2018


It started out as a gorgeous, but frigid day.
No more solar gain but the tarp went up and the salamander had fuel so
Ryan could work. I don't know how comfortable he was. He is, however, hardy and strong. We are grateful
I wish I had been present for this. I would have put a pair of red pumps under that chimney.
 It's not you, it's the photo.
Better focus.

Friday, December 29, 2017


We are still in the clutches of this deep freeze. Yesterday morning the wind chill was 30 below and while the guys had planned to work on the chimney from the roof down. They changed their minds when they got here.  Yep. I was relieved. 

Flue blocks are big and heavy as is the flue itself.  Our "attic" is cold and there isn't a lot of room between the roof joists. I don't know how but they managed to set those blocks and the flue to within 6 inches of the roof. (You can't see the other person but trust me he is there. ) There is no choice now.  To finish placing the other flue blocks they have to get on the roof and drop them in from above.    

Today it was still sub-zero and windy again.   Not a day to be cutting a hole in the roof and trying to set block.  Instead, they finished up the pedestal and the hearth. 
It's a beautiful thing. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Through the ceiling

 It happened. The chimney is through the ceiling. Tomorrow they plan to take it through the "attic" and up through the roof.

I don't know.  NOAA predicts the high at MINUS SEVEN.  They can't really work from below. That means that they have to work up on the roof.  No real sun either. That's what saved us today. Solar gain.

I hid out in the basement sewing most of the day. That's my plan for tomorrow. Otherwise I will be fretting about frost bite and wind chill.